Hamrun Spartans returned to winning ways as they defeated Mqabba by the odd goal in five. A win which puts Jesmond Zammit’s side on level points with the same Mqabba and Balzan Youths. Balzan, however, have a game in hand.
The Spartans were a better side, managing to build a three goal lead but although Clive Mizzi’s side made a good comeback with two late goals, these were not enough to get a positive result from the game.
Mqabba welcomed back Bojan Mamic after serving a two-match ban but Pierre Grima was suspended. Hamrun, on the other hand, lacked Omar Borg, Roderick Fenech and Steve Bonnici.
Mqabba had the first attempt at goal on the 3rd minute when off a Thiago Mazzitelli freekick, Branislav TImotic’s header was tipped into a corner by Andrea Cassar.
Hamrun replied with an Anderson Mendes Ribeiro header following a cross from the left but Mauro Bonnici cleared the ball into safety with an acrobatic scissors-kick on 12 minutes. Five minutes later, off a cross by Anderson Mendes Ribeiro from the left, Gianluca Calabretta’s powerful shot was blocked into a corner by Timotic.
The Spartans managed to break the deadlock on 36 minutes when off a Massimo Grima freekick from the left, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro headed the ball home past goalkeeper Kris Calleja.
Just before half-time, in a swift counter-attack for Hamrun, Dene Shields’ diagonal shot from the right scraped past the post.
Six minutes in the second half, the Spartans were awarded a penalty after Dene Shields was brought down in side the area. From the penalty spot, Dene Shields made no mistake to make it 2-0.
Mqabba went close to reducing the gap a minute later but Claudio Calleja hit the crossbar from the edge of the area.
Hamrun scored the third goal on 72 minutes when off a cross by Shields from the right, substitute Lee James Agius had a first attempt blocked by Calleja but off the rebound, he placed the ball at the back of the net.
On the other side of the pitch, Claudio Calleja had a close-range effort blocked by Andrea Cassar off a cross by Mamic and off the rebound, Thiago Mazzitelli hit high.
Mqabba reduced the gap on the 80th thanks to Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli whose close-range effort, when served by John Paul Muscat, beat Andrea Cassar.
Three minutes in added time, Mqabba were awarded a penalty after Massimo Grima handled the ball inside the area. From the penalty spot, Bojan Mamic made no mistake.
Dene Shields was voted BOV Player of the Match.
MQABBA Kris Calleja, Marko Potezica, Branislav Timotic, David Azzopardi, Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli, Claudio Calleja, Mauro Bonnici (81′ Mark Anthony Psaila), Ryan Sammut, Rene Duca (59’ John Paul Muscat), Clayton Micallef, Bojan Mamic.
Subs not used: Franklin Azzopardi, Mark Fenech, Charlot Attard, Omar Farrugia, Shawn Magro.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Asst. Coach: Renzo Kerr Cumbo
HAMRUN Andrea Cassar, Nikica Gacesa, Massimo Grima, Rupert Mangion, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro, Kevin Sammut, Matthew Gauci, Carlo Polli, Gaetan Spiteri, Gianluca Calabretta, Dene Shields (87’ Carlos Eduardo Toneto Porcari).
Subs not used: Jean Claude Debattista, Daniel Zerafa, Glenn Azzopardi, Luis Fernando Silva, David Camilleri.
Coach: Jesmond Zammit
Asst. Coach: Vince Carbonaro
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant referees: Paul Apap, Alex Grech
Fourth official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: Duca, Gacesa, Calabretta, Grima, Ribeiro
Scorers: 36’ Anderson Mendes Ribeiro, 52’ Dene Shields (pen), 72’ Lee James Agius, 80′ Thiago dos Santos Mazzitelli, 90+3′ Bojan Mamic (pen)